Compound Noun: 9 Facts You Should Know


In this article we will deal with the compound noun. Yes, with the aid of various compound noun examples we will get to know various important facts about compound noun.

A compound noun is a noun which is created or formed by two or more words. When the two or more words joined together names a person, animal, place, or a thing, then the word is called as a compound noun, as it does the function of a noun.

Following are a few sentences which have compound nouns in them.

  • 1. The lighthouse at the beach is a wonderful sight to see at night.
  • 2. We have to a do a role-play in our class today.
  • 3. My brother-in-law is working as senior manager in Bangalore.
  • 4. The flower shop near our house sells all imported flowers at an affordable prize.
  • 5. We waited for a long time at the airport as our flight was delayed.
  • 6. They have a glass dining-table at their new house.
  • 7. The shopkeeper was very kind and polite to explain the specifications of each product.
  • 8. Last night there was a heavy snowfall at our place.
  • 9. We are all expecting to get a satisfying output.
  • 10. Blueberry is my friend Rishi’s favorite fruit and flavor.

Now let us identify, understand and analyze the compound nouns which are utilized in each of the above sentence.

1. The lighthouse at the beach is a wonderful sight to see at night.

The compound noun utilized in the above sentence is ‘lighthouse’ (noun + noun), which is a combination of the two words ‘light’ and ‘house’. Both these words are combined to form the compound noun ‘lighthouse’ to name a place.

2. We have to a do a role-play in our class today.

The compound noun utilized in this sentence is ‘role-play’ (noun + verb), which is a combination of the two words ‘role’ and ‘play’. Both these words are combined to form the compound noun ‘role-play’ to name an activity.

3. My brother-in-law is working as senior manager in Bangalore.

The compound noun utilized in this sentence is ‘brother-in-law’ (noun + preposition + noun), which is a combination of the three words ‘brother’, ‘in’ and ‘law’. All these three words are combined to form the compound noun ‘brother-in-law’ to name a person. 

4. The flower shop near our house sells all imported flowers at an affordable prize.

‘Flower shop’ (noun + noun) is the compound noun utilized in this sentence which is formed by joining two words ‘flower’ and ‘shop’. Thus the compound noun ‘flower shop’ is used to name a place (a shop).

5. We waited for a long time at the airport as our flight was delayed.

‘Airport’ (noun + noun) is the compound noun utilized in this sentence which is formed by joining two words ‘air’ and ‘port’. Thus the compound noun ‘airport’ is used to name a place.

6. They have a glass dining-table at their new house.

The compound noun utilized in this sentence is ‘dining-table’ (gerund + noun), which is a combination of the two words ‘dining’ and ‘table’. They are combined to form the compound noun ‘dining-table’ to name an object.  

7. The shopkeeper was very kind and polite to explain the specifications of each product.

The compound noun utilized in this sentence is ‘shopkeeper’ (noun + noun), which is a combination of the two words ‘shop’ and ‘keeper’. They are combined to form the compound noun ‘shopkeeper’ to name a person’s job title.    

8. Last night there was a heavy snowfall at our place.

‘Snowfall’ (noun + verb) is the compound noun utilized in this sentence which is formed by joining two words ‘snow’ and ‘fall’. They are combined to create the compound noun ‘snowfall’ to name a place’s weather condition.    

9. We are all expecting to get a satisfying output.

‘Output’ (preposition + verb) is the compound noun utilized in this sentence which is formed by joining the two words ‘out’ and ‘put’. They are combined to create the compound noun ‘output’ to name the result or yield.

10. Blueberry is my friend Rishi’s favorite fruit and flavor.

The compound noun utilized in this sentence is ‘blueberry’ (adjective + noun), which is a combination of the two words ‘blue’ and ‘berry’. They are combined to form the compound noun ‘blueberry’ to name a fruit (an object).     

compound noun
Compound Noun Examples

What are the compound nouns?

Compound nouns are nothing but nouns that have more than one word. When a noun has more than one word, that is, when it is an amalgamation of two or more words, then it can be regarded as a compound noun.

Example: My brother, Rahul gifted me a brand new Smartphone for my birthday.

‘Smartphone’ is the compound noun in the above sentence as the word is formed by joining two separate words ‘smart’ which is an adjective and ‘phone’ which is a noun. The compound noun ‘smartphone’ is used to name an electronic gadget, which is nothing but a thing.

When nouns are compounds?

Nouns are compounds when they are formed by joining two or more than two words.

Example: Afterlife is still a thing of mystery and debate.

‘Afterlife’ is a noun in this sentence and it is a compound noun because it is combination of two different words ‘after’ (preposition) and ‘life’ (noun). ‘Afterlife’ is a compound noun utilized to name the period of time or life after death.

Why nouns are compounds?

Nouns are compounds because, when two or more words belonging to different or the same part of speech, the combined new word, does the function of a noun by naming an object, a person, a place or an animal.

Example: Sonali loves to watch the sunset from the beach.

‘Sunset’ is a noun is this sentence and it is compound as it formed by joining two words ‘sun’ and ‘set’ which belong to two different part of speech ‘noun’ and ‘verb’ respectively. But when they are combined, they do the function of the noun by naming a period of time.

What does a compound noun do?

Compound nouns can have two or more words which belong to any part of speech.  When these words are combined, they become a compound noun and do the function of a noun of naming a person, animal, place, an idea or a thing.

Example: The lady in the red saree is my mother-in-law.

‘Mother-in-law’ is a compound noun utilized in this sentence. It is a combination of three words ‘mother’, ‘in’ and ‘law’ (noun + Preposition + noun) which belong to two different parts of speech. But when these words are joined, the resulting compound word ‘mother-in-law’ is compound noun as the word names a person.

When compound nouns are singular?

Compound nouns are singular when their grammatical number is one. When the compound noun names one person, one animal, one idea, one object, one place, then it is singular.

Example: I caught a firefly in my garden today.

The compound noun in the above sentence is ‘firefly’ which is formed by two words ‘fire’ (noun) and ‘fly’ (noun) and it names an insect. The compound noun ‘firefly’ is singular as it refers to only one single number.

When compound nouns are plural?

Compound nouns are plural when their grammatical number more than one, that is, two or more than two. When the compound noun names more than one person, place, idea, animal or thing, then it is plural.

Example: This furniture shop has many new model dressing tables.

The compound noun in the above sentence is ‘dressing tables’ which is formed by two words ‘dressing’ (gerund) and ‘tables’ (noun) and it names things. The compound noun ‘dressing tables’ is plural because it refers to more than one dressing table. 

Types of compound nouns

There are three different types of compound nouns and they are as follows.

1. Spaced or Open Compound Nouns

This is a type of compound noun, where we can find space between the words which combine to form the compound noun. All the words used to form the compound noun are written as separate words and not as one single word.

Example: Ice cream is Monika’s all time favorite dessert.

Here the compound noun ‘ice cream’ is formed by joining two words ‘ice’ (noun) and ‘cream’ (noun). Though these two words are combined to form the compound noun ‘ice cream’ they are written as separate words with space between them. Hence, ‘ice cream’ can be regarded as a spaced or open compound noun.

2. Hyphenated Compound Nouns

As the name itself suggests, hyphenated compound nouns are compound nouns where the words combined to form a particular compound noun are joined by a hyphen in between them.

Example: The inspiration for this poem of mine is a passer-by.

The compound noun in this sentence is ‘passer-by’ and it is created by joining two words ‘passer’ (noun) and ‘by’ (preposition). The two words ‘passer’ and ‘by’ in the compound noun ‘passer-by’ are linked by a hyphen and hence it can be regarded as a hyphenated compound noun.

3. Solid or Closed Compound Nouns

Solid or closed compound nouns are compound nouns which do not have a space or a hyphen in between the words in them. The separate words are written together without any space and hyphen and thus they become a single word.

Example: Sunflower is a bright yellow color flower which blooms at the sight of the sun.

‘Sun’ (noun) and ‘flower’ (noun) are two separate words combined to form the compound noun ‘sunflower’ which names a flower. Since there is no space or hyphen between the two words ‘sun’ and ‘flower’ in the word ‘sunflower’ it is considered as a single word and thus is a solid or closed compound noun.

Compound nouns examples

Do go through the following compound noun examples.

  • 1. The makeup the bride wore was too heavy but it looked good on her.
  • 2. Your laptop is in my room which is upstairs.
  • 3. Public Speaking is one of the very important skills that one has to acquire.
  • 4. My father-in-law is a retired army officer.
  • 5. Our math teacher works out all the problems on the blackboard.

We will now find out how the compound nouns are used in each and every sentence.

1. The makeup the bride wore was too heavy but it looked good on her.

‘Makeup’ is a closed compound noun used in this sentence and it is formed by joining two words ‘make’ (verb) and ‘up’ (preposition) to name an object.

2. Your laptop is in my room which is upstairs.

‘Upstairs’ is a closed compound noun utilized in the above sentence and it is formed by combining two words ‘up’ (preposition) and ‘stairs’ (noun) to name a place.

3. Public Speaking is one of the very important skills that one has to acquire.

‘Public Speaking’ (adjective + verb) is an open compound noun utilized in this sentence by joining two words ‘public’ and ‘speaking’ to name a skill.

4. My father-in-law is a retired army officer.

‘Father-in-law’ is a hyphenated compound noun utilized in the above sentence and it is formed by combining three words ‘father’ (noun) ‘in’ (preposition) and ‘law’ (noun) to name a person.

5. Our math teacher works out all the problems on the blackboard.

‘Blackboard’ is a solid compound noun utilized in the above sentence and it is formed by combining two words ‘black’ (adjective) and ‘board’ (noun) to name a thing.

Conclusion

Thus from the above article with the aid of compound noun examples, we learnt how, when, where and why nouns can be compound by comprising more than word and by performing the role of a noun.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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